I always tell people that I was a pragmatic Presbyterian before I was a biblical Presbyterian. I grew up in a context that rarely thought about the governing principles of a church and, as a result, I saw the bad effects of a poor ordered congregation. Our pastor often said: “We have the word ‘free’ in our name because we’re free to do what we want.” There were no agreed on standards and patterns by which to make decisions. There wasn’t a clear path to express disagreement and no recourse to appeal the decisions of others. At its best these things were guided by the arbitrary will of the majority or, at worst, it was left to the control of a single individual. In that environment it was hard for justice and mercy to flourish.
That’s one of the reasons I was so impressed when first introduced to Presbyterianism. At its heart Presbyterianism seeks to find a way to structure the church according to the character of God. Paul expressed this concern when he reminded the church in Corinth that God wasn’t a God of confusion but a God of order and peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). One of the ways that […]